YA: So Much to L♥VE
While YA fiction isn't perfect, there's so much to love about the books in this market. Here's what keeps me reading YA:
The themes, the struggles, the things that make the reader smile or cry—they reach a whole multitude of readers on so many different levels. As an adult, I can still relate to many teen themes, because once upon a time I was a teen too. And the crazy thing is, many of the issues that crop up—acceptance, identity, relationships—are all things that I still struggle with in my thirties. To some degree we can all relate to these stories. We might not know what it's like to be a vampire, a siren, a tribute, or whatnot, but we do remember what it's like to be a teen and everything that goes along with that.
The characters in these books might be dealing with the death of loved ones, battling diseases themselves, fighting for their lives in a dystopian or post-apocalyptic future, or just trying to make it in the minefield that is high school. The common thread in nearly every YA book is the element of hope. Circumstances may be at their absolute worst, but somehow hope manages to creep its way in.
There are just so many really compelling YA stories. They don't tend to meander, or waste page after page digressing on this or that subject just to sound deep. They tell a story and do a darn good job of it. Happy, sad, heart-stopping, heart-warming, or hilarious—we care about the character(s) and their journeys. There are definitely profound points made, but how they're made is what shines. In her NY Times article Authors Taking Risks Isn't Kid Stuff , author Patrick McCormick says:
For a young adult audience, authors have to be at the top of our game. We're competing with Facebook and smartphones, DVRs and iPods—not to mention SATs and extracurriculars. We have to capture and hold our readers' (limited) attention on Page 1 and sustain it until the end. Young adults are willing to accompany an author just about anywhere—to a dystopian future or the ancient past—but they will not tolerate anything extraneous or self indulgent.As an adult, I won't tolerate that kind of self-indulgence. And anything pretentious? Gah! Loathe it.
My name is Jaime, and I read (and write) YA.
(And I'm proud of it. So there!)